ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (August 1, 2013) -- Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH) is one of the first hospitals in the nation to receive a Blue Distinction Center+SM designation in the area of cardiac care from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois as part of the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty CareŽ program. Blue Distinction Centers are hospitals shown to deliver quality specialty care based on objective, transparent measures for patient safety and health outcomes that were developed with input from the medical community. This year, the national program has added a new designation level, Blue Distinction Centers+, to recognize hospitals that deliver both quality and cost-efficient specialty care.
The Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program was developed to help patients find quality providers for their specialty care needs while encouraging healthcare professionals to improve the care they deliver. To receive a Blue Distinction Center+ for Cardiac CareSM designation, a hospital must demonstrate success in meeting both general quality and safety criteria (such as preventing hospital-acquired infections) and cardiac-specific quality measures (related to lower rates of complications and death following cardiac surgery; and non-surgical procedures, such as cardiac stent placement) and, additionally, must show better cost efficiency relative to their peers. Quality is key: only those facilities that first meet Blue Distinction's nationally established, objective quality measures will be considered for designation as a Blue Distinction Center+.
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NCH is proud to be recognized by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois for meeting the rigorous cardiac care selection criteria set by the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program.
"At NCH we are dedicated to providing compassionate care that meets high standards of quality and cost efficiency," says Bonnie DeGrande, Director of Cardiovascular & Diabetes Services at NCH. "This designation recognizes the quality care our patients have come to expect at NCH."
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming nearly 600,000 lives each year. Cardiac procedures, including bypass and cardiac stent placement, are among the most common major medical procedures provided by the U.S. health care system, with more than 1 million procedures performed annually. These cardiac-related procedures cost the nation more than $28 billion annually. The Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program seeks to reduce this burden, by empowering patients with the knowledge and tools to find both quality and value for their cardiac care needs.
Research shows that Blue Distinction Centers+ demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients, with lower rates of complications following certain cardiac procedures and lower rates of healthcare associated infections, compared with their peers. Blue Distinction Centers+ are also 20 percent more cost-efficient for those same procedures.
The Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program identifies hospitals delivering quality care in bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip replacements, spine surgery, and transplants. These specialty areas comprise approximately 30 percent of inpatient hospital expenditures.
About Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH)
Serving Chicago's northwest suburbs since 1959, NCH is a comprehensive, patient-centered system of care that serves more than 350,000 outpatients each year, as well as nearly 30,000 inpatients treated annually at the 496-bed acute care hospital in Arlington Heights. The award-winning hospital holds the prestigious Magnet designation for nursing excellence, is designated as a Primary Stroke Center, earned the Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval in 2011, and was awarded the Leapfrog Group's designation as one of the nation's Top Hospitals based on quality and safety criteria. NCH has four Immediate Care locations in the northwest suburbs and operates a FastCare Clinic in Palatine. NCH has a medical staff of more than 1,000 physicians, which includes the board-certified primary care doctors and specialists of the NCH Medical Group. For more information or to find a doctor on the NCH Medical staff, visit www.nch.org.